MineWare’s digital terrain mapping system improves safety on site

MineWare’s latest addition to its Pegasys dragline monitor—advanced, real-time digital terrain mapping (DTM) technology—is driving down safety risks and boosting production outcomes at a Central Queensland coal mine.

Developed in partnership with LC, MineWare’s Digital Terrain Mapping (DTM) system uses boom mounted laser scanners and GPS sensors to continuously scan and map the terrain around the dragline.

An extension of MineWare’s Pegasys dragline monitor, the DTM system tracks movement around the dragline itself, providing live and historical comparisons between the mine plan and the actual terrain.

MineWare CEO Andrew Jessett said a complete scan of the dragline operating environment—both inside and outside of the current work area—is generated while the machine is swinging through its normal operation.

“This technology allows us to compare actual terrain to design in a visual sense,” he said. “What this means is that we can significantly improve design compliance and reduce common operating errors by helping the operator know precisely what to dig and where to dump it.

“Operators and foremen can now identify and correct areas not to design as they occur (especially spoil toe), reducing the need for surveyors in the pit. This is a big step forward for safety and productivity as problems can be fixed while the dragline is there with minimum coal loss from excavation.”

Commenting on the successful trial in Central Queensland, Jessett said the continuous pit data received by the system is allowing operators, dispatch/foremen, surveyors and engineers to monitor operations in a much safer environment.

“With this improved data flowing back to the office, our client can see not only what has been completed but also calculate volumes, geo-tech analysis and monitoring, and check bucket factor calculations when required,” he said.

“This is improving safety on site by reducing the need for surveyors to complete scans themselves and work in potentially hazardous areas in the pit to check that the machine is digging to design.”

LC Director Bruce Leslie said the partnership between LC and MineWare combines the strengths of both organisations including their shared passion for leading-edge engineering and mining technology solutions.

“We’ve been delighted to team up with MineWare to deliver what is one of the most advanced DTM systems on the market today,” he said.

“Both MineWare and LC are committed to research and development, drawing upon our unique strengths to deliver practical solutions with real benefits to the open cut mining industry.”

Leslie said the core value of the DTM system is its live, ‘continuous reconciliation’ process which improves operator efficiency and performance while maximising production outcomes. “When it comes to correcting dig to plan errors, timing is everything,” he said.

“Once a dragline has moved on, it is too late to go back and correct an issue. If an operator digs in the wrong place, or creates batters at the wrong angle, the only time to correct the issue is right then and there—not once the dragline has moved to the next block.”

Recent studies into the benefits of dragline digital terrain mapping measurement—examining reductions in spoil room errors or low wall dig-to-plan errors—have proven the payback period to be as low as three months for either deliverable.

Live terrain updates have also been verified to within <300mm of actual altitude in most environmental conditions.

The Pegasys DTM system is available for installation on all new and existing Pegasys Dragline Monitors throughout Australia, the US and South Africa.

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